Pregnant cat found at the Ottawa Airport after 11 day search

A pregnant cat has been found at the Ottawa International Airport, nearly two weeks after it went missing in the parking garage after arriving in Ottawa from Winnipeg.

The Furry Tales Cat Rescue says an employee found Athena at the airport at approximately 12:40 a.m. Tuesday, and the cat is said to be doing okay.

“We are over the moon. Everyone was crying today, ecstatic in disbelief. Just so very happy and grateful,” said Marta Burczycka, a volunteer with Furry Tales Cat Rescue.

Burczycka says the story is a testament to Athena and her need to protect her kittens.

“She’s a mom, she’s carrying babies, which played into her survival instinct, you know, because she wanted to protect herself and also her babies.” 

Furry Tales Cat Rescue said on Facebook that it was contacted by a “kind soul” whose husband, Blake Fawcett of Winchester, works at the fuel tanks near the Ottawa Airport.

“It was the news we had been waiting to hear (and we know you’ve been waiting to hear) for weeks,” Furry Tales Cat Rescue said on Facebook.

“Athena was found!”

Athena arrived in Ottawa on March 21 to receive better vet care and to have her kittens, thanks to Furry Tales Cat Rescue, a local rescue organization. The organization says the cat carrier popped open in the parking garage and Athena escaped.

Volunteers and experts spent the last 11 days searching the airport grounds and handing out flyers, hoping to find Athena before she gave birth. The trapper set traps, bait and food, hoping to find the cat.

Burczycka says it was “an incredible effort by everyone.”

Athena the cat was found at the Ottawa airport after being lost for 11 days. (Leah Larocque/CTV News Ottawa)“Our volunteers, Janice, of course. We’re so grateful to everyone at the airport, all the employees who, you know, we’re spreading the word and keeping an eye out,” she said.

“Everyone who followed us on Facebook and helped spread the message, hung posters, triaged calls, just was an amazing group effort.” 

Trapper Janice Richard tells CTV News Ottawa’s Leah Larocque that Athena is doing okay. Richard says Athena was starving when they found her, but still pregnant.

Richard says she has been searching for 10-12 hours a day for Athena since she went missing.

“I’m just thrilled, beyond thrilled that we finally found her. I haven’t slept much in 12 days, so I’ve been up there a lot,” she said.

Richard says the employee who saw Athena, didn’t know who she was at first.

“He saw a cat tucked into the corner of his building, but he didn’t know about her at that time. And he went home, told his wife and said there was a cat there, And she said, ‘That’s Athena! You’ve got to try and get her.’ So he took a trap back and he started baiting her.”

Then late last night, Athena went into the trap.

Furry Tales Cat Rescue says Athena is still “very much pregnant, hungry, and scared,” but she is now receiving care.

“We are absolutely overwhelmed with love and relief, and so incredibly grateful to the Ottawa Airport operation centre for trapping her and to everyone for supporting Athena by sharing, searching and never giving up hope!”

Furry Tales says the plan is for Athena is to see the vet, and then she will go into foster care to have her kittens safety. When they are old enough, they will all be adopted.

“She’s a survivor,” Richard said.

“A fabulous survivor.”

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